Chapter 62:

Staring Down the Beast


Fumiko ran through the house quickly with the image of the girl still burned in her mind. The panic in her body pounded at her heart enough to make it burst. ‘What was that? Was that an animal?’

She didn't bother closing the door as she turned wide to make it in the direction of the young girl. Once Fumiko made it in view she could see that the girl still ran screaming to anyone that might hear her. Unfortunately, everyone ignored her pleas, too afraid.

Behind the girl was a blurred brown-gray mass that looked nothing like what Fumiko had ever seen before. It was significantly larger than the girl and ran on four legs; luck was the only thing that was saving the girl from the creature. ‘Is that another one of Yuki’s creations in this world?’

The creature let out a deep roar that caused her to trip in her fleeing. Fumiko was still too far away from the two being forced to watch as the girl was cornered by the predator. While Fumiko was tall and had long legs she was hardly athletic, a fact that she was cursing now. ‘I’m too far away still! I won’t make it!’

Her shriek drowned out the roar, when the animal’s claws ripped across the girl. It tore into flesh and clothes. “Stop it!” Fumiko looked around quickly, still running, to find a palm sized stone in the tall grass. She picked it up and threw it at the animal without considering the consequences.

There was a dull thud as the stone hit the back of the animal and bounced off almost unaffected by the weight. The animal turned its head a little trying to figure out what had happened. It had bought Fumiko enough time to finish the distance and slid around in front, putting her back to the beast. “You’re safe now.”

The little girl coughed briefly, still trying to adjust to the new situation. “Who are you?”

“You can just think of me as a Big Sister!” Fumiko spun around, narrowing her eyes in determination to stand against the beast that was nearly as tall as she.

Chapter 62 – Staring Down the Beast

Her brave words only confused the girl further as she tried to collect herself. The girl crawled away on her back pushing with her legs through the grass away from Fumiko. A foul odor breathed out from the animal’s mouth like a fine mist of tendrils. “Pl-Ple-Please…”

“It’ll be alright.” She sounded confident in what she was saying. Yet Fumiko could feel the uncontrollable terror creeping through his skin. The thing before her was something that she could only imagine, and that scared her. This was not a simple bully or guy coming on too heavy. She faced a monster with pure carnal desires breathing down her merely held back by whim.

The four legged beast pawed its forelegs at the ground throwing back grass. Its brown short fur that covered the entire body was interspersed with thick gray hair like strains that grew along its spine undulating about with a mind of their own. The first pair of eyes was set in front of the face while a second pair were at the side all focused on Fumiko.

A quick sniffing of the air by its wide and elongated nose looked for the fear that she tried to conceal. The head of the animal was larger than half of her body with a mouth that looked like it could snap her in two with only one bite. Several large fangs, three times thicker than her even her thumb, in the front were pushed out and exposed giving a clue to what the rest of the mouth would look like.

Fumiko slid a foot back as the seconds ticked away for her. She felt cornered knowing that she couldn’t run and couldn't fight with nothing but her fists. Unfortunately, time had run out as the creature ceased its hesitation and lashed out with heavy paws, claws already extended.

She had only moments to react. Moving on instinct, she turned away from attack trying to get into the grass. Her waist took most of the claws dragging through her blouse and flesh quickly turning the blue cloth reddish violet. Fumiko let out a short yelp trying to hide the pain.

The child stared up at her pleading with her eyes. She could only scream through her hands. Fumiko forced her eyes to focus on the girl already quickly becoming overcome by the pain. ‘I wish Yuki was here…he would be able to do something about this…’ The girl suddenly stretched out her hands towards Fumiko. It snapped her mind back narrowing on the problem before her. ‘No! I’m here and I have to do something!’

“Can you run?” The little girl gave her a quick nod with uncertainty. “Good… When I say to, start running to the nearest house…”

The next strike for Fumiko came. She dropped herself down into the dirt. Missing surprised the beast for only a moment, but Fumiko was already turning around with a thick clump of dirt and grass in her left hand. She tossed the clump at the face of the animal. “Run!” The animal let out an annoyed roar. Fumiko was hit by the back of the foreleg in the wild swings knocking her through the grass.

The girl had stopped in her steps hearing Fumiko being struck. “Big Sister!”

“No! Run away!” Fumiko struggled to get back to her feet, but the last hit she took had knocked the wind out of her as well as her balance. She dropped back into the grass as the animal’s berserk rage drew close to crush her under foot.

Disobeying Fumiko, the girl met with her kneeling in the grass. She tried pulling on Fumiko’s arms to get her away from the animal. Fumiko tried to insist that she run away on her own, but the girl refused. “Please, Big Sister!”

‘Big Sister!’ echoed a voice in her mind.

Fumiko’s eyes grew wide for a moment as she thought she saw someone familiar to her in place of the girl. The image faded away from her, but the encouragement from the girl was enough. It was just in time as the animal’s out of control stomping thundered next to her feet. Fumiko made it to her feet and fled the area into a neighbor’s property that became overgrown with vines.

She paused at the corner of the house looking back towards her own house. ‘I hope it doesn’t follow us, but what if there are more of them around…’ Fumiko turned to look down at the girl to check on her. The girl started to cry with one hand hanging tightly onto her torn blouse. “Hey, what’s the matter? We’ll be safe now!”

“But you’re hurt because of me!”

“Is that all?” Fumiko softly patted the girl on the head to try to ease her pain. “I chose to help you, you didn’t make me. So you shouldn’t feel that this is your fault.”


“More importantly, how are you feeling? The monster got you once.” Fumiko knelt down to look at the clothes and to see how badly she was injured. The green and white one piece dress was only partially soaking up the blood. “Does it hurt?”


“You’re very brave. I’m Fumiko, what’s your name?”


Fumiko gave the girl a reassuring smile to try to comfort her a little. “Alright then, you ready to go? We probably shouldn’t stay here much longer.”

“Big Sister Fumiko…”


Mieko grabbed tightly onto Fumiko’s blouse, her fear transferring through her hands. “Is there anywhere safe?”

“If we can make it to my house we should be safe, but we’ll have to go through the back. You up for that?”


Fumiko stood up and led her through the sidewalk around the house into the back. On cue it seemed, a pounding thunder could be felt through the earth as the creature came running down. It had put some urgency in their steps rushing to the back wall that divided all of the properties. Fumiko checked behind them to see the creature speed past the house. ‘It’s lost us…but we should stay in the back just in case…’

Mieko was the first up on the wall with Fumiko’s help. The height was less of an effort for Fumiko as she joined the girl. There was a narrow path on the wall mostly covered by plants or vines, but the house was only a few lots away from them. However, a familiar growl from behind him forced their gaze back. They were just in time to see the beast leap into the air clearing the wall effortlessly, three houses down, having rediscovered their scent.

‘It found us?!’ The two of them froze for a moment, unable to believe what they were seeing. A creature so large was able to move so smoothly through the air. “R-Run!”

The plant covered path threatened to trip them. Mieko had already been caught by Fumiko once from falling. However, when Fumiko looked back she saw that the brown-gray beast was getting even closer to them. It made her lose her footing and nearly sprained her ankle to keep herself up. She had to bite through the pain as they were almost to her house.

In the last neighbor’s back area was a shelf of potted plants that escaped being reclaimed. Fumiko slid to a halt at the shelf and bent down to pick one up. ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me!’ She waited until the beast was about to leap again and threw the clay pot, less than a house away from them.

Already enraged and on scent, the animal didn’t try to avoid the flying object. It shattered instantly on its hard head covering its entire face with potting dirt and a large leaf plant. The blindness and shock prevented it from leaping, but all of its momentum remained and crashed into the wall.

Fumiko sighed quickly, but it was soon. She could hear cracking just before the entire wall around the beast exploded into shards followed by the traveling earthquake-like force through the rest of the wall. Fumiko and Mieko were unable to keep their balance, falling backwards away from Fumiko’s house while the beast continued to charge unhindered by the wall and collide with their family’s wall.

An exposed root in her back and Mieko safely on top of her, Fumiko wasn’t certain if she should be sighing in relief that they were still alive. She lifted her head up to look down at Mieko. Her small frame could be felt shaking through into Fumiko without seeing her face. “Everything’s fine Mieko. We’re still alive, right?”

“…mmhmm…” The deafening noise unseen on the other side of the wall was only heightening her anxiety. She could not see what was happening, but hearing it was making it seem even worse. It seemed hopeless.

Fumiko lifted Mieko back up to her feet. She could only see smoke and debris from the wake of the creature. Being halted had only served to increase its anger. It moved once more and roared loud enough to rattle the windows. It felt as though it was piercing her down to her bones making them shake and crack from merely below. ‘I thought being in a house would be safe, but a stone and brick wall wasn’t even enough! What do I do?!’ She turned around to look down at Mieko. “Can you still run?”

“…I-I don’t know… We can’t escape it! And there’s nothing to protect us from it!”

“It’ll be alright! You trust your Big Sister Fumiko, right?”

“…mmm…” The hesitation from Mieko made Fumiko try comforting her again. Mieko latched onto her quickly making it difficult for her to move around. “I’m scared, Big Sister Fumiko…”

Fumiko gave her another pat on the head hoping to ease her. “I’m here to keep you safe. Nothing will happen to you!” Fumiko managed a warm smile for her to give her strength. The ragged little girl nodded more certain now. “Let’s get out of here!”

They escaped from Fumiko’s house through the narrow path into the grass street. Behind them the thunder of the beast rose once more. Their head start didn’t last as the beast barreled through the house they had just left, taking out a large corner of the home itself. Dust and debris settled behind it as it turned towards its targets once more. Fumiko had only looked back quickly at it to know how far away they were. ‘I say all that, but I honestly don’t know what we can do…’

‘…Big Sister!’ There was a distant tug on her arm that made her feel as though she was hearing voices again.

Her heart pounded in her chest more from uncertainty and desperation than fatigue. She wasn't used to all this running, but it didn't seem to slow her down. ‘I have to keep her safe… But I’ve never felt this…’ The blood in her veins ran cold with her mind unable to get the images out of her of what she saw that thing do. ‘…scared…’

‘How am I going to get out of this?’ Losing their distance Fumiko turned them down the new street hoping to gain some of their safety. Unfortunately, the large animal cleared the corner of the wall and actually put it even closer to them. ‘…this thing wants blood! I can’t stop it and I can’t outrun it!’

“Big Sister!” Mieko cried as she tripped. Fumiko lifted her into her arms.

She turned down the next street running close to the property wall. However, the beast ignored it and crashed through. Debris and greenery from the explosive impact of the animal flew up around them. All of the confusion threw up pieces at Fumiko with most missing her, but a couple struck her in the head and arm separating Mieko from her.

‘Big Sister!’ A faint image of another girl laid over Mieko's flying body. Her eyes already started to lose focus before her head smashed against the edge of the bordering wall. It dropped her painfully like a doll face first in the grass and dirt hovering around consciousness. ‘…Kimiko…’ Fumiko tried to stretch out her arm in the direction that she thought Mieko was seeing a brownish blur moving away.

“Big Sister!” screamed Mieko panicked as she was being cornered by the animal against the wall. She looked around, settling deeply into fear when she saw Fumiko lying on the ground looking dead to her. “Big Sister! Please help me!”

‘Big Sister!’

“Big Sister!”

‘…Big Sister…’

The dull ringing in Fumiko’s ears made it impossible for her to hear anything. All she could hear was an echoing familiar voice in her mind. ‘…Kimiko? Sister… Where’s Mieko?’ There were suddenly images flashing through her mind, all of them covered in blood almost impossible to see clearly. ‘Sister! I promised I’d protect you! Mieko?! I must… I can’t let another one down!’ Fumiko pushed herself back to her feet struggling with blood dripping down the side of her face. She straightened up starting to stagger towards the animal with her eyes becoming sharper and determined.

A glow appeared to reflect in her deep green eyes as her hair began to blow around her. “Not again!” Her voice seemed to have a percussion affection on the area ringing out through the area. The walls that divided the houses developed cracks quickly expanding from her position as the windows were next, shattering to pieces. As though there was a force underneath the ground, the fragile cracking walls caused them to explode into debris flying up into the air away from Fumiko.

The glow that had been in her eyes was expanding to cover her entire body in a light orange-green hue that slowly bled off her twisting into the wind above her. They became tendrils that played through the air leaving a trail behind. At first only a circle, but then two intersecting triangles before strange letters appeared accompanied by pictographs. It began to flash and glow moving to the animal unleashing a fiery column upon it.

Fumiko didn’t know what was going on trapped in the moment with her eyes growing wide in shock and confusion. “Yuki?! Is that you?”